SF Just Eliminated All Overdue Library Book Fines
Effective September 16, 2019, San Francisco Public Library has eliminated overdue fines for all Library patrons. Additionally, the Library is clearing all outstanding overdue fines from all patron records.
Any items checked out starting today that are eligible for renewal will be automatically renewed for you.
This move ensures that our public library is living up to its commitment to provide free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community.
The San Francisco Public Library was a pioneer in the fine free library movement. SFPL eliminated fines for children and teens in 1974.
The Library still encourages patrons to return books in a responsible and timely fashion to the Library so others may enjoy our shared resources. For more information about how the Library is supporting this new initiative, visit sfpl.org/finefree.
Does this mean I can just keep a book forever?
Nope! If an item owned by SFPL is overdue by 3, 10, or 21 days the Library sends a notice by email or phone. At 30 days overdue, the Library sends a bill by email and the account is blocked from borrowing and renewing physical items. Billed items must be returned, paid for in full, or replaced.
While the Library eliminated overdue fines, library users are still responsible for fees associated with the replacement of lost or damaged books and other materials they check out. Under this new policy, it is important to understand the difference between overdue fines and billed-item fees.
Overdue fines are the daily charges applied to items not returned by their specified due date. These are the fines that will no longer be charged to patrons. Billed-item fees, or just fees, represent the charges applied for lost, damaged, or unreturned materials and are still in effect.
San Francisco Public Library is part of a nation-wide movement to reduce access barriers and live up to its commitment to free and equal access to its communities. This map from the Urban Libraries Council shows other fine free libraries.